This soup is quite a bit more spicy and colorful than the European type.
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons turmeric
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of saffron (about 18 threads) (optional)
3- to 4-pound chicken, cut up
About 9 cups boiling water
2 medium (about 4 ounces each) onions, halved
2 medium (about 3 ounces each) carrots, sliced
2 medium tomatoes
1. Combine the cumin, turmeric, pepper, if desired, saffron, and salt. Toss the chicken pieces with the spice mixture. Place in a stockpot or large heatproof casserole over low heat and cook, turning the chicken occasionally, until seared and browned (about 8 minutes). Remove the chicken (this prevents the water from washing the spices from the chicken).
2. Add the water. Return the chicken and add the onions, carrots, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, occasionally skimming off the foam, until the chicken is very tender (at least 2 hours). The chicken can be removed from bones and returned to soup or served separately. Adjust the seasoning, adding more salt as needed.